August 14, 2015
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Published August 13, 2015
By: Ryan Dailey
To view the story online, visit: http://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2015/08/13/wakulla-inmates-bond-children/31660039/.
But for a few hours Thursday morning, inmate Stevie Taylor was surrounded by 13 of his closest family members…
Children of Inmates Visits, Inc., in partnership with the Department of Corrections as well as Living Stones International, a children and family outreach organization, brought the Children of Inmates Bonding Visits to Wakulla Correctional three years ago.
The program, which began facilitating bonding visits for eight children, now connects more than 250 children with their parents across the state of Florida.
Senior Pastor Gary Montgomery with Living Stones said the program makes a difference across generations.
"Seventy percent of children of inmates will be incarcerated sometime in their lifetime," Montgomery said. "That's the basis of this program, to throw a lifeline to the children."
The Department of Corrections website calls its faith and character-based programs "an innovative effort to reduce recidivism and disciplinary infractions in correctional institutions."
"It's a very exciting thing to see the inmates be able to see their children, and see how well they're doing," said Warden Jacob Sorey.
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs more than 22,000 members statewide, incarcerates more than 100,000 inmates and supervises nearly 140,000 offenders in the community.